An update for Roadkill data

 

Some of you might wonder what that spike is all about on the "roadkill dashboard."

It's what happens when we execute a batch import of roadkill data from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). The ITD has implemented a system where they log the carcass pickups that their crews perform. I'd like to take a moment to thank them, and our Idaho Fish and Game employees who also do this deed, as by no means is roadkill cleanup an easy job!

Graph of recent data spike

Back to that data spike. In addition to the continual stream of motivated roadkill entry-folks into our Roadkill or Salvage online reporting system, several times a year we request  data from ITD's carcass inventory system. They provide us an Excel table with the appropriate fields, and we automagically upload it using a batch-import-process.

These partnerships give IDFG the capacity to house all the recorded road-kill data from each vested sector: ITD, IDFG, and various public groups. We at IFWIS also have other data partnerships using the same Observations Core database as Roadkill. While the other information is not nearly as public as a bloated deer on the side-of-the-road, the data are very meaningful for use in conservation and management of Idaho's wildlife diversity.

This data-import mechanism is extremely important because it's the first step we have for importing large datasets from critical special-status species into our Observations Core database. This database houses the Roadkill data as well as other species of special interest. 

Thanks to technology advances, but more importantly, a strong will to work together, our IFWIS team is working with our partners to bridge data gaps. Projects like the Multi-Species Baseline Initiative (MBI) highlight the importance and power behind bringing source observational data to a centralized location.

Back to roadkill. This last spike of roadkill records included some 3,300 records. Not all of those were from this year. Some records were entered from a backlog, as most carcass removals are jotted down on paper before being put into the computer.

You also may notice that not all of the roadkill data have a species defined, either. Sometimes, it's because the smear on the road is undefinable. Other times, it's because an animal isn't available on the "pick list" on their entry form. Items like the latter are being corrected as we find them through a joint effort of ITD and IDFG.

This last update brought the total record count of Idaho roadkill data to 20,392 records. In my opinion, the magnificent thing to mention about this spike, is that it represents a point where data is coming in faster than ever before. Since January 1, 2012, we've imported 5,929 records. Granted, only 1,714 were killed on the highways since that date. Having this information available, at a statewide level, will allow IDFG and ITD staff to make informed decisions about highway safety, for you, and the animals.

You can help us with our quest by signing up and reporting the roadkill (or any animal) you see, as well. Just take a few moments to fill-out the short form for Roadkill or general Wildlife Observations

Your contributions do help!